Introduction to Starting Your Own Fashion Label skillshare originals badge

Greg Armas, Assembly NY, founder + designer

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5 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Establishing Your Niche Market

    • 2. Articulating Your Designer Mission

    • 3. Developing Key Relationships.

    • 4. Developing Key Relationships (continued)

    • 5. Designing Sales + Marketing Strategy

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Project Description

State your label's designer mission

Establishing Your Niche Market

  1. Identify your goal client

    The marketplace is saturated with labels competing for attention at every level. That being said, there is always an audience for a well designed and developed concept.

    Create a profile of your goal client. 

    Answer the following questions about your followers:

    • Who are your customers? 
    • Are they men/women? 
    • Where do they live?
    • What are their hobbies?
    • When will they wear your product?

    Share your forecasts on who you think your clients are on your project page. Give others feedback on their profiles. Ask questions that truly inspire you. Be curious.

  2. Define the lifestyle your product represents

    I am a strong believer in keeping your designs personal. Your story is very important beyond being a rule of thumb for aesthetics, it offers an authenticity that is legible on a sales floor like a beacon. Take some time to get personal and define the lifestyle your product is for.

    Is it for:

    • Someone that eats a grapefruit for breakfast every morning?
    • Someone that works at an office, in tennis shoes?
    • Someone that plays in a slacker rock band?
    • Someone that can't decide which Ivy League school to attend?

    Share an image of what your clients do in your product. 

  3. Identify your client's expectations

    Now that you've defined who your clients are, and what your product is, it is time to look at your contemporaries.

    The person buying your article is a living, breathing individual with a specific income, level of expectation, understandings and previous experiences. Making your collections materials, price point, name, labeling and quality appropriate to your client is vital.

    Identify where your clients would purchase a product identical to yours. Pick one item from an established brand, then list why your client would pick your product over your competitors.

    Is it because of cost? Is it because of materials used? Is it because of sizing and fit,  or lifestyle? 

    Share what makes you popular with your classmates. 

  4. Scour the sale racks

    Visit stores that carry items similar to your brand. Take the time to look at what they have available. Identify the items that haven't done well (see: Sale rack). Strike up a conversation with a salesperson on the failure of those products.

    Share your discoveries.

Articulating Your Designer Mission

  1. Share the stories you love

    Think of your favorite brand mission statements. Pick one that really resonates with your personal interests. Share this story and explain why you love it so much.

  2. Write your brand mission statement

    Create a story of your brand that is interesting, understandable, and quick to read. Aim to concisely express what your origins are, what problems you wish to solve, and what inspires you.

  3. Declare your brand intention

    Everytime your company comes up , whether it be in conversation with a showroom, possible investor, press interview, website content, or coffee with a friend you will want to say the right thing and be consistent. Typically you have one initial chance to explain yourself to somebody and knowing exactly how you want your brand to be understood will prove useful over and over.

    Write a short statement about your brand intention. Share a couple sentences about your brand as you would if you were at a casual networking party. 

Developing Key Relationships

  1. Identify the people you need

    In the same way you desire a relationship with your client and need them to understand your intentions through your designs, the people actually making your articles and components are a key relationship. Assuming even if you are the smallest brand and make everything yourself, your relationship with your material suppliers are your lifeblood, you cannot exist without your suppliers.

    Research the people you need to create your item.

    Create a list of the people/companies you will use to create your product. 

  2. Track your production costs

    Create a cost sheet for an item from your brand. Determine which factors of production are going to have the most influence on your retail price. Be mindful of payment schedules and the amount of money you have available.

  3. Hire your staff

    Production takes a small village and as you increase your quantities you will want to ensure the same great quality you started with. It's a challenge for the details not to get lost in the mix of factory conversations and sold out supplies that is production. 

    Situate yourself inside of your company. What role will you be fulfilling, and what roles will you need to hire out for? Create a list of positions you will need to fill in order for your brand to succeed. 

Designing Sales + Marketing Strategies

  1. Exposing yourself (well) to strangers

    You'll need to create a professional visual representation of your brand. Every public label requires a website and social media presence to explain themselves, having strong images of your work to put online is the first step and not a place to cut corners. Whether you are sharing your collection with a shop or possible press showroom, the impact of your photos are your voice.

    Acquire five photographs of your product that illustrate the quality of the goods you are providing. Most designers create look books to show off their catalogue to potential clients in the industry.

    You can learn how to create your own lookbook in this Skillshare course, taught by fashion photographer Tasha Bleu.

  2. Find five accounts

    Create a list of five shops that would be interested in purchasing your product. Avoid casting a wide net. Focus on retailers that match your audience, both small and large. 

Additional Resources

  • List of people required to make your item.

  • Example of transparent cost sheet.


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